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History of Chinese calligraphy : Wei dynasty and Jin dynasty


Wei dynasty (220-265). There're two other countries Shu and Wu at the same time. This period is called Three Countries period. But as for culture, Wei played the most important role.

Li Shu is still used at the beginning of Wei. "Ge Fu Jun Bei" is the first tablet written in Kai Shu. Kai Shu and Xing Shu became popular since then.

The most famous calligrapher at this time is Zhong You, Wei Guan and Handan Chun. 

Jin dynasty (West Jin 265-316, East Jin 317-420). Just 30 years after West Jin established, 16 countries at north of China appeared. The Sima family (the emperor of Jin) had to move to the south of Chang Jiang river. But calligraphy achieved the best in the history.

Theories of Chinese calligraphy was booming at this time. Wei Heng's "Si Ti Shu Shi" discussed the beauty of calligraphy as an art. Mrs. Wei's "Bi Zhen Tu" proposed the theory of flow and law of calligraphy. She also discussed the importance of brush, ink and yan (the tool to hold ink). Seven method of holding the brush was also summarized and the effects were discussed. Other important calligraphy theory include "Shu Lun" (On Calligraphy) by Wang Xizhi, "Cao Shu Zhuang" by Suo Jing, "Li Shu Ti" by Cheng Gong Sui, "Cao Shu Fu" by Yang Quan, "Fei Bai Shi Ming" by Liu Shao.

Famous Chinese calligraphy works :

Lan Ting Xu,  Sheng Jiao Xu, Sang Luan Tie, Yue Yi Lun, Ya Tou Wan Tie, Di Huang Tang Tie, Bo Yuan Tie, Shi Qi Tie, Luo Shen Fu Shi San.

Famous calligraphers:

Handan chun. Zi: Zi Shu. Born in Ying Chuan (Yu county of He Nan province today), he was good at all scripts. It's said "San Ti Shi Jing" is his calligraphy work.

Wei Ji. Zi: Bo Ru. Born in He Dong An Yi (north of Xia county in Shan Xi province today). Good at all scripts. He once imitated Handan Chun's "Gu Wen Shang Shu" but Handan Chun couldn't distinguish it from the original.

Zhong You (151-230). Zi: Yuan Chang. Born in Ying Chuan Chang She (east of Chang Ge in He Nan province today), he studied calligraphy from Liu Desheng. People after him evaluated his calligraphy: "like swan traveling in the sky, wild goose playing in the sea". He is called Zhong Zhang together with Zhang Zhi. He is also called Zhong Wang together with Wang Xizhi.

Wei Dan. Zi: Zhong Jiang. Born in Jing Zhao (Xi An of Shan Xi province), studied Handan Chun's Zhuan Shu and Zhang Zhi's Cao Shu. His calligraphy is like tiger prowlering, also like swards drawn and bows bent. He was good at writing on horizontal inscribing boards. Most of the boards of Wei dynasty is written by him.

Huang Xiang. Zi: Xiu Ming. Born in Guang Ling Jiang Du (belongs to Jiang Su province today), he is a calligrapher of Wu country. He is good at Li Shu, Xiao Zhuan, Zhang Cao.  His Li Shu is powerful and graceful. His Zhan Shu is exquisite. His Cao Shu studied from Du Du and is stable and delighted. His "Tian Fa Shen Xian Bei" contains both Zhuan Shu And Zhou Wen. "It's shaking the world."

Wei Guan (220-291). Zi: Bo Yu. Born in He Dong An Yi (north of Xia county of Shan Xi province today), is good at Cao Shu. His calligraphy is like swan raise it's wing hard, flying above light wind.

Wei Heng (252-291). Zi: Ju Shan. Born in He Dong An Yi (north of Xia county of Shan Xi province today), is a calligraphy theorist. His "Si Ti Shu Shi" is very important in calligraphy history.

Mrs. Wei.(272-349). Family name : Wei. Given name: Shuo. Zi: Mao Qi. Born in He Dong An Yi (north of Xia county in Shan Xi province today), she is the teacher of Wang Xizhi. Her Kai Shu like beauty on the stage, woman god (not same as the god in Christianity) playing shadow. It's said he wrote "Bi Zhen Tu", which is an important calligraphy theory book. And she is the only woman calligrapher mentioned in history.

Su Jing (239-303). Zi: You An. Born in Dun Huang (belongs to Gan Su province today), he is grandson of Zhang Zhi's sister. He is good at Zhang Cao and Cao Shu. Study from Wei Dan, but his calligraphy is more precipitous than Wei Dan's.

Wang Xizhi (303-361).

Wang Qia. Zi: Jing He. Son of Wang Dao. Wang Dao's calligraphy was famous at his time. Wang Qia was the most famous in Wang Dao's sons. He had new creation in his calligraphy.

Wang Xianzhi (344-386). Zi: Zijing. 7th son of Wang Xizhi. He studied his father's calligraphy earlier and studied Zhang Zhi's calligraphy later. He reformed bravely. He is the first one to write more than one script in one calligraphy work. It's called Po Ti later. His calligraphy is handsome and heroic. His Luo Shen Fu is super graceful in strokes, flying and moving in ink. 


Han dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

South and North dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Jin dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Tang dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Song dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Ming dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

Qing dynasty Chinese calligraphy history.

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Last modified: 05/09/09